I have recently been giving some thought to the concept of ‘possibilities’ and ‘probabilities’ and how, depending on the focus, these can create fear in myself, and stop me from moving forward and cause me to worry unnecessarily about things that may or may not happen. I expect that it is the same for others too.
Possibilities can be looked at in differing ways. If you were considering going on a plane trip, there is a possibility that the plane will crash, and this is a negative outcome, but the probability is that it won’t happen. Do you let the fear of the possibility stop you from travelling, or do you go with the probability (it won’t crash) and get on that plane? (By the way, I love flying, so this is not a big issue for me, in case you’re wondering!). This can be applied to various scenarios where the chance of something bad happening are pretty slim. You need to cease worrying about the odd possibility. Alternatively, possibilities of success can make you fearful also. Let’s say you would love to write a book and have it published. The possibility is that it will be successful – this is a positive outcome. The probability, unless you are an exceptional writer, is that it won’t get published (negative outcome). Do you work in favour of the possibility this time, and never give up on your dream (think of Edison and his light bulb), or do you let it stop you from ever trying and go with the probability that it will fail? Preferably the former.
Now, if you know something is a probability and it will have a negative outcome that is not beneficial to you, you should take notice. If you eat a poisonous mushroom, YOU KNOW that it is most probable that it will make you very sick or kill you. The possibility in a case like this, (e.g. that it WON’T do those things) is very slim, so you go in favour of the probability and not eat it. Another example is when you know that if you exercise and control your diet, the probability is you will lose weight (positive outcome). It is possible you won’t, but you would hopefully continue to move in favour of the probability and continue with what you are doing in order to see the result.
Basically, when a possible outcome is negative (the plane will crash), you are better off focussing on the probable outcome and saving yourself a lot of worry about what only MAY happen. When a possible outcome is positive, (your book will get published) you should focus on that rather than the negative probability, otherwise you would never fulfil your dreams.
When a probability has a negative outcome (the mushroom will kill you), you are better off going with that rather than the possible result (it won’t kill you). When a probable outcome is positive (you will lose weight), you should move in favour of that rather than the possible outcome (you will never lose weight). So every time you are unsure of which path to take or what choice to make, weigh up the possible and probable outcomes, the positives and the negatives. This may help stop the fear that prevents you from moving forward and following your dreams, or simply worrying about things that may NEVER happen! Of course previous experience may tell you that something is bad, but it is important to weigh up the options in light of the new scenario, as this time, the outcome may differ, and you will have been holding onto the fear for no logical reason.
I intend to use this tool more often, and hope you find it useful too!